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Re: Big Dinosaur Prints Found
From: "Ray Stanford" <email@example.com>
Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2001 3:44 AM
> Indeed. Furthering the idea of pathological tail drag in a theropod,
> one might postulate the following: It seems the base of the tail might,
> fact, be one rather vulnerable area for another theropod to bite -- even
> the attacker is of the same size or species. In such a case, the injury
> might not be life threatening, but certainly could be severe enough to
> the tail to subsequently droop or even drag on the ground (ouch?!).
Why the base? Most tail injuries to wild lizards and crocs that I've seen
are normally closer to the caudal / posterior [delete as appropriate] tip,
which is weaker and easier to break. A second cause of pathology which is
not uncommon in extant reptiles occurs through developmental problems in the
embryo, and the tail is typically affected first. Injuries or developmental
problems don't have to impede movement (or ability to survive), but they may
cause the tail to be shaped abnormally.
Incidentally, injuries in wild reptiles are far more common than you might
think - I'd say maybe a fifth to half of mature crocs we find (depending on
location & species) have at least one significant injury on their body
(typically a serious scar, missing leg, portion of missing tail). The latter
two could affect their tracks.